FALL 2009

Kim Stafford


He was easily pleased by a few words.
—the message I have chosen
for my tombstone

There were these words everywhere.
Some hurt, some healed, some waited for a lifetime.

There were these students. They arrived
with first words, but wanted others.

You were the door for their learning.
You were the listener, witness, friend.

How many seekers have met you
and moved on? How many were changed?

A few words gave pleasure beyond
the long flat testimony of money and fame.

You put together a few words for a child
who needed you, held your hand.

Teaching poetry—was it ever other than
mechanics, making a heart go fast and far?


Kim Stafford is the founding director of the Northwest Writing Institute in Oregon, and the author of a dozen books of poetry and prose, including THE MUSES AMONG US: ELOQUENT LISTENING AND OTHER PLEASURES OF THE WRITER'S CRAFT.



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